The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Fleming (NYSE: FLM) announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement under which Kroger plans to purchase 16 supermarkets in Omaha, Nebraska, from Fleming.

Under the agreement, Kroger will acquire 15 Baker’s Supermarkets and one Food 4 Less price-impact warehouse store in the Omaha area. The stores will continue to operate under their existing banners with the current employees and will become part of Kroger’s Dillon Stores division based in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Both companies expect the transaction, which is subject to certain conditions, to be completed within 90 days. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“This transaction will open a new market for Kroger and provide exciting growth opportunities in the Midwest,” said Joseph A. Pichler, Kroger chairman and chief executive officer. “Baker’s has a long history of serving customers’ needs in the Omaha area, and we are delighted to welcome the Baker’s and Food 4 Less employees to the Kroger family.”

“Like Dillon Stores, the Baker’s and Food 4 Less stores are focused on providing unparalleled service, selection and value to their customers,” said Bob Colvey, president of Dillon Stores. “We are confident that with Kroger’s size, purchasing power and merchandising programs, we can build on that solid foundation.”

Mr. Colvey said the Company will begin meeting today with employees of the Baker’s and Food 4 Less stores.

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“Kroger is adding Omaha’s most preferred grocer and its associates who are ambassadors for customer service,” said Mark Hansen, chairman and CEO of Fleming. “We are proud of Baker’s excellent 73-year history of commitment to customers, associates and the communities they serve. We are confident that this tradition will continue under Kroger.”

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is the nation’s largest retail grocery chain. At the end of the third quarter, the Company operated 2,343 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under nearly two dozen banners, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Smith’s, King Soopers, Dillon, Fry’s, City Market, Food 4 Less, Quality Food Centers and Gerbes. Kroger also operates 787 convenience stores, 396 fine jewelry stores, 62 supermarket fuel centers and 42 food processing plants.